The Meaning of Acquitted: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered about the definition of acquitted? This guide will provide you with all of the knowledge you need on the word acquitted, including its definition, etymology, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word acquitted mean?

According to Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Language Dictionary, and other dictionary apps, the word acquitted, pronounced “əˈkwɪt’ed” is an adjective that means that someone has been declared not guilty of some crime. This implies that the person was tried for a crime but was found not guilty. This could mean that the jury found reasonable doubt and could not declare the person being tried guilty. This could also imply that there was not enough evidence in the criminal case to find a person guilty. If there is insufficient evidence to find a person guilty in a court of law, it is up to the judge or the jury to acquit the person. Famous cases of acquittal include the impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the O.J. Simpson case, in which all criminal charges were dropped. These people are considered exonerated of their crimes and due to the double jeopardy rule cannot be tried for these same crimes again.

The word acquit is also present in many other languages to describe a person who is not guilty or who has been cleared of their charges in a court of law. The below list of translations is provided by Word Sense.

  • German: freisprechen‎, für unschuldig erklären‎
  • Swedish: frikänna‎
  • Greek: αθωώνω‎
  • Japanese: 放免‎
  • Persian: تبرئه کردن‎ (tabra’e kardan)
  • Portuguese: inocentar‎, absolver‎
  • Dutch: vrijspreken‎
  • Finnish: vapauttaa‎ (syytteestä)
  • Russian: опра́вдывать‎ (impf), оправда́ть‎ (pf)

What is the origin of the word acquitted?

According to Etymonilne, the word acquitted comes from the verb acquit. The word acquit has been used since the mid-13th century. This comes from the word acquiten which means to repay, reciprocate, or reward some good deed or bad deed. This has been used since the year 1300 to mean to satisfy a debt. This word comes from the Old French aquiter or Old French acquiter, meaning to settle a claim. This word has existed since the 12th century as the Modern French acquitter, which comes from the prefix a meaning “to” and quite meaning “free or clear.” This comes from the Medieval Latin quitus, or quittus, which comes from the Latin quietus meaning “free.” This word comes from the Proto-Indo-European root kweie meaning to rest or be quiet, and is related to the Medieval Latin acquitare. This word has been sued since the mid 14th century to mean to relieve someone of some obligation or duty or to relieve some accused person of charges. Related words include acquit, acquittal, acquittance, and acquitting.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word acquitted?

There are many different words and phrases that one can use in place of the word acquitted. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as other words and phrases. Knowing different synonyms are very useful to avoid repeating yourself, or to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for acquitted is provided by Thesaurus

  • vindicate
  • clear
  • deliver
  • excuse
  • exculpate
  • discharge
  • wink at
  • let off the hook
  • exonerate
  • absolve
  • whitewash
  • release
  • disculpate
  • let go
  • blink at
  • free
  • liberate
  • let off
  • relieve
  • wipe off

There are also numerous words and phrases that can act as antonyms to the word acquitted. Antonyms are also very useful to know in order to expand one’s vocabulary and knowledge of the English language and English grammar. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus

  • imprison
  • pronounce guilty
  • put away
  • attaint
  • send up the river
  • bring to justice
  • send up
  • find guilty
  • put the screws to
  • pass sentence on
  • condemn
  • declare guilty
  • rap
  • doom
  • throw the book at
  • sentence
  • convict
  • frame
  • adjudge

How can the word acquitted be used in a sentence?

The word acquitted is often used in legal cases, as well as in many different police or legal drama television shows. This word is usually used in a legal context and is not often seen outside of that. It can also be used when people are referring to a case or crime that they have been following in their personal lives or on the news. In this example, Mattie and Ellen are discussing a case that they have been following in which a man from their town was accused of murder.

Mattie: Did you hear what happened in the case? Huge update!

Ellen: No! What happened?!

Mattie: He got acquitted. All the charges got dropped. I guess the jury didn’t think they had enough evidence or something, but they couldn’t come to an agreement and he;s getting off scot-free.

Ellen: Wow. That’s crazy. I can’t believe it. It’s so obvious that he did it.

Mattie: I feel the same way. And imagine how the victim’s parents and family feel, knowing this criminal is walking free with no punishment at all.

Ellen: It’s truly unbelievable.

In this ciruation, Mattie and Ellen sue the word acquitted to describe that the person who was being charged with murder has been released and had charges dropped.

Overall, the word acquitted is an adjective that describes a person who has been cleared of all criminal charges and is not found guilty for a certain crime. This word implies that the person was either arrested or tried for a crime, but later found not to be guilty There may have been insufficient evidence to find the person guilty, or the jury or judge may have has reasonable doubt that the person did not commit the crime and therefore decides not to find them guilty or sentence them.

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/acquit/#English
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/acquitted
  3. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/convict
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/word/acquit
  5. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/acquitted
  6. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquit